For a beer brand to make commercials that instill a sense of patriotism and national pride is rather commendable. That’s exactly what Molson Canadian has done. The commercial has an average Canadian lad up on stage, proudly dispersing stereotypes about Canada and telling the audience what Canada is and is not.
Firstly, why Canada? Could any other nation pull off a similar ad? Yes and no. Molson Canadian has hit upon a very delicate spot – Canadians are always trying to shake off the American yoke and are tired of playing second fiddle to Uncle Sam. The beer has merely acted like a catalyst in helping Canadians embrace their land and feel proud to be Canadian,instead of apologetic about their differences.
Some lines from the ad ( I believe in peace-keeping, not policing, Diversity not assimilation ) stand out sharply as Canada’s attempt at standing taller than the States; while others are clearly pride drivers (Canada is the 2nd largest landmass! The 1st nation in hockey! And the best part of North America).
All this, while keeping ‘beer personality’ codes in mind: that of being a loud, back slapping, guzzler drink/buddy beverage and hence could plug this need gap, of being able to boldly stand up for the country.
They have even gone on to make a commercial with an “I am Canadian” anthem, which is pure goosebump material; especially when sitting in a bar, it’ll make you want to proudly call for a Molson.
What is truly wonderful, is how even though the beer isn’t really top-notch, it has created a powerful tool for itself – a symbol of what the country stands for. Canadians are stereotyped just as much as any other country is, if not more and this is ad helps debunk a handful of those stereotypes,especially American beliefs.
Another point in question: Do brands that take on a larger role garner a stronger place in the consumer’s heart? Because nowhere in the commercial is there any mention of what the product is like, and yet by the end of it, it makes you want to stand up and clap and go out and buy a Molson. Market leader being Corona, and Heineken at number 2, Molson Canadian shares 3rd place with Miller Genuine Draft. For a beer that doesn’t quite deliver on taste, the advertising has certainly pulled a lot of its weight.
Molson Canadian to me, has become quite a cult brand with these ads. Patriotism is a tricky topic to touch upon given that you could come off sounding preachy if not done right.
EDIT: July 2013
Molson recently brought back its ode to patriotism for Canada Day this year. 10 years after the first communication (above) of its kind was out. This one was brand activation based and hinged on a strong insight. Again, goosebump material. Here’s what they did: Molson fridge